Happy 2nd Birthday, Aria! An Entry That’s Not About Aria.

… OK, maybe it’s a little bit about Aria but I’m going to take a different approach this year and instead of writing a letter to her, I’m going to write a letter about me. I figured that by the time Aria gets to the age that she’ll be able to read and understand what I’ve written, this blog will be long gone and forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, Aria’s birthday is everything to me but it’s also a good time to look back and reflect on the last 2 years. I think that’s what parents do on their kids birthdays – they celebrate them and then think about the year that just flew by. I just didn’t want to write the same type of blog every other parent blogger does because it’ll be the same “you’re so sassy like me” or “you’re so smart for your age” entry. Not this year, folks.

Over the last 2 years, the question of “what’s it like to be a Dad, now?” has come up a lot and I only ever say “it’s good!” but it’s so much more than that. It’s literally the best thing that has ever happened to me and there are days that I think to myself “why didn’t we have Aria in our lives sooner?” because I can’t imagine a life now without her in it. They say having a child is the best way to test how strong of a person you can become and it’s true. It changes every single molecule in your being and it forces you to look at the world in a whole new light. You become more aware of someone other than yourself and selfishness starts to turn into selflessness quicker than you think. The days of “me, me, me” are long gone and you begin to prioritize something greater than yourself. It’s fulfilling in a way you wouldn’t know until you truly want to give every piece of your heart and energy to a little kid you’ve helped create.

From the second she was born, I’ve been proud to be her Dad and for every second thereafter, I have never fallen in love with such a small person over and over again as many times as I have. I find myself having conversations with a 2 year old randomly most days and more often than not, it’s about absolutely nothing but it means absolutely everything to me. There are car rides where we will spend half an hour talking about the clouds and what size they are or which of her fingers is which and I wish we could stop time for a moment so I could just cherish it a bit. Days go by so fast and I remember wishing we could talk with each other sooner, and now I’m wishing things would slow down because I’m afraid I can’t remember everything.

Being a parent splits you into two things: your former self and your new self. My former self slept late and woke up whenever he wanted. He spent all his money on materialistic things and on fads that would mean nothing in a year. He cared only about himself, and his way, and his things. His heart was caged and selfish. The new self – the Dad self – he has bags under his eyes, he’s tired and exhausted most days. He’s scared and anxious to make sure he’s raising his little girl perfectly. His time is more precious now.. But his heart – his heart is full and overflowing. He’s now fueled by love and not greed. The former self – I don’t miss him all that much, nor do I think about him anymore. He’s in the past and I think he belongs there because no matter how uncertain the new self’s future is, I think he’s a better version of me.

For the last 2 years, every day has been a learning experience and every time that I’ve made a mistake, I’ve learned from them quicker than I ever have before because I don’t want to fail her again. There are days where you’ll just want to quit – you’ll want to stay home from work, and not move from bed, and not pick up any toys, and not change any diapers, and not argue about eating food – nothing. But all I have to hear is “Daddy!” and I realize again what my motivation is and that I can’t quit, because quitting now means giving up on her. At the end of the day, when we put her down to sleep and we go back and let our weight fall into the bed with another day in the bag, I can’t help but wish she was still up so we could play some more. In an ironic and funny way, Aria has taught me a lot more about success than I’ve taught her, and even though we think it’s one-way – it’s very much both ways. Kids teach us so much more than our ignorant parent minds think they do – you just have to listen.

Aria is 2 today. She knows Daddy’s real name is Jason and Mommy’s real name is Diana. She knows yoga and that she has to say Namaste when she’s done. She knows when to stop and go at a traffic light. She knows how to manipulate people for more candy. She loves telling people the story about how she hit her head and had to put a bandaid on. She hates sand, but loves water. She decides which shoes to put on depending on where we’re going. She loves bubble tea and chicken nuggets. She’s terrible. She’s two. And I don’t think the “terrible *insert age here*” will ever go away from here on out, but that’s OK because we love her. Happy birthday, buttmunch!

Happy First Birthday to Round Face Kid

To Round Face Kid,

A year has come and gone and it seems like just yesterday that we were waiting anxiously for you to arrive in the hospital. Up until that day, we thought our lives were perfect and every puzzle had been put together. The truth of the matter is that you were actually the last piece of the puzzle we didn’t know that we were missing.

The beginning was hard. It was scary and challenging and exciting. Before you, we would never – in a million years – imagine how difficult being a parent would be. It’s something everyone tells you about but it’s also something you would never understand until you have lived it. Most new parents are truly naive – not through anyone’s fault – but through the lack of experience. Over time, your Mom and I learned how to hold you, rock you, burp you a certain way, and every little thing that no one else can do quite the same. Over time, you developed a personality – sassy and stubborn – tracing back to your Mom and I, respectively…

Sassy. My favourite definition of this is that you possess an ungodly amount of cool (or at least you think you do). You are so like your Mom that it makes my head spin. If I’m not receiving sass from you, it’s from Mom. If it’s not from Mom, it’s from you. And if I’m not receiving sass, the both of you are sleeping. Thank you for being a mini-Mom – it reminds me of the love I’ve had for her since I was 14; childish and playful. You make us feel like kids again, and I think that’s what we love most about you. You’ve revived our imaginations – a skill that often gets lost as you grow up. Please don’t ever stop imagining.

You’re stubborn. My God, you are stubborn. Now I know why Mom has a hard time dealing with me. You knew how to put your foot down before you could even sit. I like that. I like that you know what you want and will say no when you just don’t feel like it. That will help with dealing with boys when you’re older (please don’t get older). I like to think that your stubbornness helps you discover the pieces of who you are; it creates a solid foundation of personality in you that becomes hard to break. That’s what we want you to be – unbreakable – because you’ll find that the world and some people you meet will try to break you. Keep that foot down and you won’t crumble, kid.

Thank you for letting us be your parents. Thank you for running us through our paces and allowing us to make mistakes with you and at the same time, have the best success of our lives with you. Thank you for teaching us things that we never knew we cared to learn. Watching you take everything in and understanding little things we have learned to overlook is the best experience we could ask for. One of my favourite things to do is watch your gaze when you see something new and trying to imagine what you’re thinking and to make sure how silent I need to be because that moment might be one of the most exciting and amazing things in your life. Being present in the moment with you is far more important than trying to handle too many things at once because we would hate to miss all of your first experiences. Thank you for choosing our hands to reach out to and trusting in us to give you more. That feeling never dies.

Today, you’re one. ONE. 365 days old and this was the fastest year of our lives. I hope the next goes by slower – at least a little bit so that I can take some time to reflect some more at all you’ve done. If someone asked me – what I am sad about the most, it would be that there were nights where we wished you were able to put yourself to sleep without us carrying you all night. Now, there is no more carrying and rocking because you don’t need us as much anymore. I’m sad that I have to come to terms with not doing that ever again. That we might have carried and put you down to sleep for the last time and that there are going to be more moments like this. I’m happy you’re a big girl now but you’re always going to be our baby girl. Even if it’s just carrying you like a baby for fun, it will always be special for me.

With that, we wish you a happy first birthday. We wish that you stay curious and question everything you don’t understand. We wish that you remain eager and continue to smile at everything you enjoy and that happiness is what makes up most of all your days. We – selfishly – wish that you stay forever small and cuddle in our arms when you’re tired and that your chubby little fingers continue to grab on when you don’t want to go. You’re going to grow up to change the world one day – and even if it isn’t everyone’s world, you’ve at least changed ours. Happy Birthday, Aria!


Mom & Dad

Awesome Birthday Gift: T1R Power Headers

Another nice treat was this birthday gift from Diana, Julee, JC, Punit, Gopesh, Jackie, Aldrich and Aldo tonight! We all went out for dinner at Moxies to Celebrate me and Punit’s birthday and it always ends up being a good time. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Anyway, took a few quick snaps of the gift – a nice addition to the FRS – T1R Power Headers. Something that’s been on my list for a long ass time but just never got around to actually getting it. I want to install it right now!! It’ll just make me want to drive the car more… 😦

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JC and his super fancy Filipino calligraphy.

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Another awesome card I can put on the fridge. LOL

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A quick shot of the headers. Can’t wait to slap this guy on.

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Shiny shiny!

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And Jackie Law was nice enough to include a set of AJ-R plate frames for me! I’ve been bugging him for these for so long LOL. Going to go nice once the car is all put together! Thanks again for everything guys! Another great birthday! Love you guys!